Birth, Death, Joy, Grief (6)
Apr 05, 2020
Birth, Death, Joy, Grief (6)
“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future
To a known God”
· Corrie ten Bloom
My wife of 58 years (June 10, 2019) and best friend Eileen had been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the esophagus, in February 2019. Eileen died on February 22, 2020, the day following the birth of our latest granddaughter Maria, and the funeral was March 4, 2020. This blog gives my thoughts, fears, prayers, and hopes during this challenging and difficult time looking at the space in my life.
04/04/2020 Indeed, God is filling my life once again with joy and love. It is a difficult time in our world, with the virus restrictions keeping everyone locked down, but it added Barbara to my home which fills that empty void left by the death of Eileen. I was reading some of the earlier posts of this journey from last April and May, and realized that I have moved out of the “Dark Night of the Soul” that I was in over the entire year until now. It was so very difficult to watch the slow decay of the strength and vitality of one that you love like life itself, that I could not function well during that entire time. I resisted the passing of time, resenting the ending of this phase of life.
Of course, other events were there, including the passing of my sister-in-law on April 1 of last year. I just heard from my niece that my brother Tom has fallen on that anniversary date and was in the hospital. May need a pacemaker as he passed out on standing from the breakfast table which and left a large goose-bump on his head, but we will see. She said that Tom was doing well, and sounded on the phone (they can’t visit) like his old self. Life does go on, and indeed birth and death are just bookends on the physical life we have. I read of the celebration of Eileen’s birthday last year and having all visit at that time, as we figured it would probably be the last time we could celebrate it as a whole family. Laughter, tears, and joy filled the time, with the underlying factor of the future limits.
Tom and I have talked many times on the phone about his grieving process, and it is compounded by Tom’s limitations as well. He and I have talked several times since Eileen’s death, with the last one being just before his birthday of March 29 (91 years old).
Today was the first time in over a year I woke up with a sense of the joy of God’s presence in the world. This is not the God of Glory and wonder, but the God of gentleness and awe of life (and death) that Jesus tried to tell the world about. We are forced to see that side of God in the viral pandemic that is sweeping the world, leaving all the goods of our world “in the dust” as everyone, even me, has to face the possibility of death here and now, for me – not someone else, but me. But the signs of spring, the spots of green on my bonsai, and first daffodils, show that life goes on, with or without me, life goes on as it has over the past 3 billion years or more on our planet. The journey does not end with my leaving, so I can find joy in the simple acts of looking out of the window, seeing spring arrive one robin at a time, etc. Yes, Barb and I saw our first robin on our evening walk a couple of days ago, and one sat down on our deck railing last evening and just walked around for a moment.
Gentle One, lift our hearts amidst that panic and gloom of life that fills our news. Help us to see the joys of life: the cry of a new baby, the laughter of children, the greening of spring, the flow of life that has slowed to the point where we have the time to see, truly see, the wonders of Your Life so evident around us. Yes, the fear of illness and death fills the air and stops us, but that is the fate of all life. help us to see that this pandemic only brings the truth of life to the front: we live and therefore we will die. Nothing has changed, only now it is front and center, a good thing in the bustle of life.